‘Expecting Amy’ Review: Amy Schumer’s Baby Humor
Amy Schumer has never been an especially private person. She talks about very personal things in her standup comedy. Even if she’s joking, the basis is true sexual, personal feelings and incidents. Her first movie, Trainwreck, was inspired by her life too. The HBO Max documentary Expecting Amy is as personal, funny and emotional as you’d expect from Schumer.
Amy Schumer IS ‘Expecting Amy’
The three part documentary follows Schumer as she develops material for her 2019 special Amy Schumer: Growing. During this tour, she marries Chris Fischer and becomes pregnant with her first child.
The cameras are there when Schumer and Fischer fight about the pressures of impending parenthood, and for all of Schumer’s vomiting and other health factors. It is a stark and intimate chronicle of a pregnancy, with the emotions involved as well as the humor due to the participants: Schumer and her comedian friends including Colin Quinn and Bridget Everett.
How Amy Schumer becomes Amy Schumer
One aspect of Expecting Amy that may appeal to comedy fans is watching Schumer work her material and develop her act. She may pick out a single phrase that went over well in one set. The same jokes recur in each episode so you can see the refinement of the set. There is enough standup material to satisfy fans, although they probably heard these jokes in Growing already. The context gives them new poignancy.
Schumer and her friends and family make jokes throughout the pregnancy. Surely, they weren’t “on” all the time, but they were on enough to get enough footage to keep Expecting Amy entertaining. And perhaps comedians are on more often than not. It’s how they get through life. The series certainly shows when they get serious too.
‘Expecting Amy’ to have health crises
Schumer has probably gone on stage when she was sick before, but the pregnancy makes every night an added challenge on top of developing an hour long special. She adapts to the discomfort, not that it makes it easy. It’s a continuing struggle.
When the sickness continues into her second trimester, it gets a bit more serious. If you thought seeing Schumer vomit on screen was a bit confrontational, it becomes very sympathetic in a moment where she truly cannot stop. Schumer develops hyperemesis which makes the pregnancy more difficult.
This gets serious from a feminist persepctive. Schumer never thought pregnancy would be easy, but when she experiences just how difficult it is, she realizes just how much women have grinned and beared it. One would hope the world can be sympathetic and accommodating to women carrying children, but it remains a fight which Expecting Amy illustrates.
Inside Amy Schumer’s marriage
Fischer is supportive of Schumer’s work and throughout the pregnancy. You will get to see them argue over directions, typical married people stuff. You see Schumer’s love and regret for snapping at him through all of this.
Along the way, Fischer gets diagnosed with Asperger’s and autism. A significant chunk of the second episode focuses on Fischer processing his diagnosis, and Schumer figuring out how to adapt to it. This should be valuable to anyone learning about such a diagnosis and their loved ones.
Expecting Amy is well edited and flows from humor to emotion, from intensity to whimsy and back smoothly. Directors Alexander Hammer and Ryan Cunningham have a lot of sources to coordinate: direct interviews, therapy sessions, fly on the wall video and Schumer’s standup about incidents as they’re happening.
Depicting the sometimes graphic struggles of pregnancy is intended to prompt conversatiosn about the process that tend to be overlooked. The intimacy continues until well after the birth of Schumer’s son. It is certainly the next level of Schumer baring her soul, and Expecting Amy pays off like all of Schumer’s artistic risks have so far.